Trying to stick to a schedule with a new baby is very challenging. Managing your time around their schedule requires flexibility.
The trick to surviving with a new baby is being flexible. Some nights after I have been up all night, I’ll have to do tasks that won’t require much energy. Other days the baby will want to be held all day. Some days I start out with a burst of energy and it quickly tapers off due to lack of sleep.
Here are some tips and tricks to do managing your time with a newborn.
Scheduling vs. Time Management
Before we delve into the tips, it is important to lay the foundation for this discussion. Developing a schedule involves doing a specific task at a specific time everyday.
For Example: 8am Breakfast. 9am workout. 10am grocery store trip. 11am vacuum floors.
Until babies start sleeping through the night, scheduling tasks this way ends in frustration
Managing time involves making decisions about utilizing your time to get most of the tasks on your to do list.
Let’s look at the grocery store run. Does this need to happen at 10am? Can you have groceries delivered? Can your partner pick them up on their way home?
Looking at that tasks and considering alternatives to accomplish it frees up time to tackle something else on your to-do list.
If you enjoy grocery shopping, you can make it a priority. When baby wakes from their morning nap I will go to the grocery store…since you know in advance that is the plan then you know when the baby wakes up, the focus is on feeding the baby getting him dressed and getting out the door.
When a loved one plans to drop by, they may be okay with watching the baby while you run to the store.
Some tasks must be done at a scheduled time like drop offs at school for older siblings or Dr. appointments for those days scheduling works best.
Until the baby starts letting you get a decent amount of sleep at night, reach out for help for some of these tasks as much as possible. Can your partner or a friend help out with drop offs and pick ups?
Remember this baby stage is very temporary. Other moms have been there and many will help when they can and how they can.
Set a Goal for the Day to Help Manage your Time for the Day
Sometimes I would be frustrated at the end of the day because I ended up holding the baby all day and not really getting anything done. My husband asked me why didn’t I ask him to hold the baby and what is it that I wanted to do. And honestly I had no answer to either one of those questions.
After that I tried to set one thing each day that I wanted to accomplish. I oriented my day around accomplishing that one thing.
Chances are you won’t be able to get to everything on your to-do list. So it is important to identify the single most important thing to accomplish for the day. When the baby gives you a break or you have an extra pair of hands make this your priority. This can be anything from running a quick errand, taking a long shower, or just enjoying a little time to yourself.
Consider Baby Wearing to Make the Most of Your Time
For the first few weeks after I had my baby I really wanted to relax as much as possible, so being confined to the couch was not a big deal.
As I started to regain my energy, I wanted to get things done. It seemed as if every time the baby fell asleep in my arms and I put him down he was wide awake. So I turned to baby wearing.
Baby wearing allowed me to use two hands to do light house work or get some meal prep out of the way.
Wearing the baby while vacuuming or making a sandwich helped me get through the infant stage with both of my boys.
Meal Prep or Plan to Take Care of Yourself and Make the Most of Your Time
Nourishing yourself should be a priority in your day. I am not talking about a pintrest worthy week in advance meal plan. Simply staying one meal ahead can be really helpful. In my book, deciding to order takeout is part of a meal plan.
After baby’s appointment, planning to swing by your favorite restaurant for a quick bite is a perfectly acceptable meal plan.
I didn’t have any family to help out when my boys were newborns. The worst thing I did was wait until I was starving to decide what to eat. A hangry nursing mama, recovering from a C-section I would turn to chips or ice cream until I could order takeout or make myself something to eat.
I decided to keep breakfast quick and easy. Eggs with spinach, oattmeal, or a breakfast burrito. Most of the time a banana, the perfect one handed food to eat while holding a baby.
After breakfast I start thinking about lunch. This just makes life easier, if the baby goes down for a nap at 10:30am I know what I want to have already, I can prep it so that when lunch time comes I can just grab it from the fridge.
Washing and prepping fruits and vegetables while baby wearing can free up two handed activity time later in the day.